Welcome to Vaughan’s emerging downtown, the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC)
“Creating a true ‘downtown’ has been the vision for the City of Vaughan since the rapid growth of the 1980s and 1990s changed the city from a quiet collection of communities into a thriving urban centre”
With the Provincial announcement in 2006 committing to funding a subway into Vaughan, my vision for the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) came about, comprising of a vibrant modern centre for residents and businesses encompassing all amenities of an urban lifestyle, including inspiring multi-use office towers, residences, open green space and pedestrian squares, shopping areas and restaurants, and walking and cycling paths. The VMC showcases Vaughan’s commitment to forward thinking and sustainable urban design and development, and will transform the way the you live, work, and play here in the City of Vaughan!
In this continuation of this 4 part series, I will be highlighting the recreation & entertainment features in the VMC.
Culture & Public Art in the New Downtown
Culture and art are a valued and vital part of urban life. The Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) is envisioned as having a sensory rich environment with beautiful and stimulating places for people to live, work and play. With ongoing development in the VMC, a framework of
culture and public art will be an important catalyst for placemaking, economic development and investment.
This project provides a creative platform for non-for profits, private artists, and designer collaborations. The VMC will have a variety of art through the environment such as temporary installation for events, pedestrian and park designs, street art, and interactive art for families.
Edgeley Park and Pond
Edgeley Pond and Park is the largest open space, City-owned piece of land in the VMC and is located at the northeast corner of Highway 7 and Jane Street.
Edgeley Park is the prominent outdoor recreation space in the VMC, and will consist of walking and cycling trails, a flexible lawn area, a park pavilion, a winter ice skating path, and public art throughout. Edgeley Park will incorporate modern urban design principals, all while maintaining the natural beauty and ecological significance of the space.
This project’s objective includes:
- improve ecological function and provide functional natural habitats
- improve stormwater management and stream corridor functional design
- generate spaces for active and passive recreation
- showcase design innovation
- plan for strategic phasing and implementation
- enable further development of the downtown
- deliver a first-of-its kind destination for Vaughan and York Region
Black Creek Renewal Project
The Black Creek Renewal EA’s purpose is to develop and evaluate potential channel alignments and physical forms for the Black Creek Renewal between Highway 7 and Highway 407. It considers the requirement to mitigate the current flooding and erosion problems in Black Creek as well as potential enhancements to the natural heritage system and public realm associated with the Black Creek corridor.
While certain bridge structures are planned on existing roads to improve the hydraulic capacity of Black Creek, certain other bridge structures, both vehicular and pedestrian, are required as part of the planned development and in support of the population and employment growth of the VMC and the City in general.
The planned improvements to Black Creek are also intended to create value in a social dimension by virtue of the planned open space network. Maintaining consistency with the City’s current practice, all new open space network projects are considered to benefit the City as whole and are funded 90% through City-wide development charges. Once complete, the Black Creek Renewal will establish a series of promenades, plazas and parks, spanning over 30 acres.
Transit Square and Central Park
Designed by Claude Cormier + Associés, the proposed central park includes a grand sunken lawn to be used for large gatherings and sports, an open glade featuring a large fountain and oversized pergola, and a hilled area for outdoor movie screenings. Curved paths link together the different landscapes.
Outdoor urban spaces such as Transit Square and the future Central Park are the places to be with signature festivals and events. They are the backdrop for community celebrations and a friendly gathering place year round.
Transit Square is centrally located in the heart of the VMC and is surrounded by several public transportation connections, office towers, local businesses, and shops and dining. Transit Square will embody the pedestrian squares that have become well-recognized fixtures in downtown’s all around the world.
Last summer, the City of Vaughan hosted it’s first Concerts in the Square. Concerts in the Square brings a number of musical performances to Transit Square throughout the summer season.
The YMCA of Greater Toronto has been active for 167 years and is committed to bringing communities together by providing residents with a number of valuable resources, flexible spaces, and recreational programs and activities to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.
The YMCA facility will offer a large pool, fitness area, gym, steam room, conditioning room, youth zone, fitness studios, and community rooms, along with a range of classes. In addition to this, the YMCA in the VMC will provide a place for resident’s to simply meet-up and socialize.
The City of Vaughan has 32,000 square feet for a new Vaughan Public Library branch, performing arts studios, and a community kitchen.
The YMCA of Greater Toronto has 77,000 square feet for a new flagship location.
The YMCA will also offer licensed not-for-profit child care. Highly-trained and registered early childhood educators will develop innovative programming, guided by the YMCA’s evidence-based curricula.
Vaughan is committed to providing pedestrian’s and cyclists with an effective and extensive bike lane network throughout the VMC and beyond. Cycling will prove to be an efficient way to navigate the around the VMC once the bike lane network is completed and connectivity is optimized. Cycling infrastructure ensures that residents remain active and healthy, and ultimately can move around in the most efficient and stress-free way possible.
Bike lanes and bike boxes are already on Highway 7, Millway Avenue and Apple Mill Road, and will be expanded as the VMC builds out. Active transportation—including walking, biking, and other options—are an important part of the VMC’s vision and will continue to get easier.
Shopping and Dining
The VMC will be outfitted with several shopping and dining establishments. Well known retail staples as well as boutique shopping and dining destinations will ensure that the VMC establishes itself an go-to destination for premium and everyday shopping needs, social gatherings, business meetings, and evening outings.
Some retail and shopping hubs (with many more to come) in the VMC include: Pumpernickles, INS Market, Marc Anthony Cosmetics, Smart Centres, Purpose Food Co, Balzak’s Coffee Roaster, Remedy’s Rx, Refresh Wellness, and the first BUCA-branded restaurant.
The VMC will consist of predominantly mixed-use towers, which will ensure to offer residents and commercial tenants access to a world of luxurious shops, gourmet restaurants, and exciting entertainment.